The Mongolian gerbil or “jird” is a native of the Gobi desert, originating from Mongolia and Northern China.
Family: Muridae-The largest and most diverse family of mammals including Old World rats and mice, and gerbils.
There are 14 genera of gerbils.
There are 87 known species of gerbil including the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus).
Including the tail, the Mongolian gerbil is 12-14 cm long. The head is broad and short, and the tail is covered in fur with a small tuft at the end.
Gerbils are omnivores. In the wild the diet consists of grasses and seeds with small amounts of insects. A captive diet consists of a high-quality pellet supplemented with small amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Gerbils are nocturnal, but some daytime activity normally occurs. Gerbils are sociable and generally do not fight when raised together.
Breeding pairs of gerbils are usually housed together for life.
Normal physiologic values
|Temperature||99.3-100.8 F||37.4-38.2 C|
|Body weight||Adult male||46-131 g|
|Adult female||50-55 g|
|Mean life span||2-4y|
|Sexual maturity||10 weeks||9-18 wks (M)||9-12 wks (F)|
|Litter size||3 to 8|
|Weaning age||21-28 days|
|Target environmental temperature:||50-68 F||18-22 C|
|Target environmental humidity:||45-55%|
Anatomy / physiology
Small amounts of blood may be collected from the lateral saphenous vein.
Important medical conditions
Ovarian cysts, tumors
Squamous cell carcinoma
**Login to view references**
Banks RE, Sharp JM, Doss SD, Vanderford DA. Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry. Durham, NC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
Jackson TA, heath LA, Hulin MS, et al. Squamous cell carcinoma of the midventral abdominal pad in three gerbils. J Am Vet Med Assoc 209(4):789-791, 1996.
Mitchell MA, Tully TN. Manual of Exotic Pet Practice. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.
Quesenberry KE, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 2004.
Pollock C. Basic information sheet: Gerbil. March 31, 2010. LafeberVet Web site. https://lafeber.com/vet/basic-information-for-gerbils/